The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $12.2m grant to improve the development and implementation of renewable energy projects in Tonga.
ADB said that the renewable energy project in Tonga is under the Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility and is aimed at enhancing the country’s energy security and reducing carbon emissions.
In 2017, ADB had approved the facility to finance the renewable energy projects in the 11 smallest Pacific island developing member countries with an overall estimated cost of $750m, with ADB providing nearly $200m.
Additionally, ADB is administering grants worth $29.9m from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and $2.5m provided by the Government of Australia for the project.
ADB’s pacific department energy division director Olly Norojono said: “The project will reduce the country’s dependency on imported fossil fuel for power generation. Providing Tonga’s population with better access to clean, resilient, and affordable electricity at a lower cost, particularly those in the outer islands where energy access is low and limited, will help the country achieve a more inclusive and sustainable future.”
Assistance provided by ADB, GCF, and the Australian government would help Tonga shift its energy mix from being approximately 90% carbon intensive to a cleaner and more sustainable source through renewable energy resources.
The renewable energy project in Tonga will also offer technical solutions like battery energy storage systems, along with capacity building efforts to promote more private sector investments in renewable energy, to help the country in meeting its 50% renewable energy target by 2020 and 70% by 2030.
Main features of project include the installation of battery energy storage system in Tongatapu; development of grid-connected energy generation on the outer islands of ‘Eua and Vava’u; installing renewable-based hybrid systems and mini-grids on the outer islands of O’ua, Tungua, Kotu, Mo’unga’one, and Niuafo’ou; and building capacity of executing entities and communities, including women, to operate and maintain assets.
The regional development bank stated: “ADB is helping the Pacific region prepare for a renewable energy future with a three-tiered approach that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy; maximizes access to energy for all; and promotes energy sector reform, capacity building, and effective governance.”